If you have 6 minutes to spare, please watch my YouTube presentation (above) about a 14yo Irish girl called Dymphna.
Saint Dymphna, as she has been known in death, is remembered each year on the 15th of May – her Feast Day.
My understanding is that Catholic patron saints acquire experiences during their lives that equip them with special empathy for particular causes or problems. Although Dymphna died young, she has been allocated a very broad portfolio of patronages, including:
- against sleepwalking
- against epilepsy
- against insanity
- against mental disorders
- against mental illness
- family happiness
- incest victims
- loss of parents
- mental asylums
- mental health caregivers
- mental health professionals
- mental hospitals
- mentally ill people
- nervous disorders
- neurological disorders
- possessed people
- rape victims
To get the full gist of the story please watch the video or, alternatively, you can do as I have done and do a bit of research on the internet. These are the sites I used to inform the story and decorate the presentation (in no particular order):
- Catholic Online
- Ireland’s Eye
- St Patrick Catholic Church
- National Shrine of Saint Dymphna
- Franciscan Mission Associates
- New Advent
- TED Talks
- Openbaar Psychiatrisch Zorgcentrum (OPZ) – Geel
My thanks and admiration to all those people behind those websites and the stories they contain. Aren’t we fortunate to live in an age where information is readily accessible?
Technical stuff about making the video (you might want to do something similar).
- visuals made using Prezi (it’s free, it’s really cool)
- narration recoded using the “Voice Memos” app on my iPhone
- transferred the narration from phone to computer via iTunes/iPhone sync
- the visual and narration bought together using ScreenFlow
- uploaded to YouTube
It took me a bit of mucking-around to get it right, and there’s quite a few “umms” and “ahhs” in the narration. Nevertheless, if you’re thinking about giving something like this a go I would recommend it. It’s certainly do-able – you’ll need perseverance and patience more than talent.
Hope you enjoy the presentation and, no matter what your belief system, enjoy the Feast Day of Saint Dymphna too.
As always, your comments and feedback are welcome.
Paul McNamara, 14th May 2013
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Gheel, the place of Dymphna’s martyrdom, became the site of her shrine–which throughout the Middle Ages became a pilgrimage destination for the mentally ill. Consequently, the townspeople got used to having mentally ill people around and to providing hospitality for them. The town eventually became a sort of extended halfway house. In modern times that has morphed into more secular, professionalized care, but the town’s welcome to the mentally ill continues to be a distinctive mark.
I am a priest, but I also worked 24 years as a therapist and psychiatric researcher, administrator, and consultant. I have a relic of St. Dymphna right here on my desk!